Red Bull Distributor Energizes Sales and Delivery Efficiency with eoStar
As one of the largest Red Bull distributors in the world, The Beverage Works (TBW) knows information about delivery routes needs to be kept accurate and up-to-the-minute. Today, the company services over 17,000 retailers in the Metro New York/New Jersey market.
When it opened its doors in 2000, however, TBW was a much smaller operation. As the first Red Bull distributor in the northeast, the company was tasked with building a brand and growing distribution for Red Bull, which at the time was a relatively new and unknown brand in the U.S.
For much of TBW’s first decade in business, it used a basic route accounting software package, but something was missing. The display was convoluted, unintuitive and not very interactive. Data was presented in unappealing number tables, so TBW would have to use external reporting tools to get visual records or do anything with the data at all. There were no actionable insights provided to help TBW make smarter, better decisions about their business.
To compound issues, customer service for the antiquated route accounting software provider was lacking. “You’d call in and never reach a support person. You’d hit automated menus and get voicemail, and never get resolution to your concerns,” said Brian Lamb, director of IT for TBW.
By the end of 2007, TBW was ready to move on. “We looked around at different route accounting packages and ultimately landed on eoStar®. It had an attractive interface. It was intuitive and user-friendly. eoStar was robust, and when we compared it to what other software was doing, it was much more advanced.”
With eoStar Route Accounting Software, beverage distributors get a one-stop solution that combines key functionality – such as WMS, Voice Pick, Forecasting, Surveys, Web Orders, Mobile Sales and Delivery – into a single database. Customers get the benefit of having all operations, sales, finance and administration information consolidated in one location.
Three years ago, TBW embraced another change, transitioning from eoMobile® — an eoStar extension for handheld devices and tablets – to the iOS-compatible eoTouch®. Sellers loved the flexibility of being able to use eoTouch on iPhones and iPads, which had greater connectivity through cellular and Wi-Fi. TBW started using eoTouch for pre-sales, putting sales people on iPad minis to place pre-sell orders.
“The switch from eoMobile to eoTouch was extremely easy,” Lamb said. It also presented a significant cost benefit, as TBW was no longer buying $1,000-plus ruggedized mobile devices, but instead had moved to iPads and iPhones, which were less expensive and easier to service.
eoTouch is a great tool for TBW’s sales reps, who can use it to log new orders, track client records, read sales reports, and track sales objectives and goals. “A large portion of distribution isn’t just about selling the item, it’s about making sure there are incremental steps you can take along the way to guarantee success,” Lamb said. “We’ve implemented objectives for our account managers, and we’ve seen tremendous value in this. We started using eoStar to manage how representatives service accounts in the field. We’ve used steps to score performance and determine if objectives are complete. So, we can tell if a day is a success by the number of criteria you’ve met, and reward you for doing so.”
Mandatory surveys can be set up by management to be performed in eoTouch at customers’ locations. For example, TBW uses eoTouch to survey retailers to see if they’d be open to new Red Bull product launches. The surveys are adapted to the specific needs of locations based on whether they’re in urban, suburban, or rural areas.
For TBW, several eoStar features set the software apart. The company benefits from the ability to plan the day’s routes before ever leaving the garage. For instance, a TBW delivery driver can use the app’s virtual route book through an iPad or iPhone, knowing how many cases to deliver to each location – and even where in each store to deliver them. “You can generate a walk-through in your iPad, so when you go to service any account, you know stop one in this store is the cooler by Register 4, stop two is my warm shelf with my four packs, stop three is the endcap on Aisle 7 and so on,” Lamb said. “You can even log how many cases should go to each location.”
eoTouch is also compatible with driver sell routes, giving TBW a greater degree of flexibility in how it deploys its drivers. Some routes can be pre-sold, while other routes can be serviced and sold by the drivers. Because the same platform is used for all routes, TBW has the option of changing up their routes as their needs change, with no learning curve for their drivers.
Drivers can easily substitute in for other driver’s routes without disruption because of the eoTouch platform. If the primary driver is out for the day, TBW can load a route onto a different iOS device, so the backup knows how to service a location, even if it’s an unfamiliar route. eoTouch even connects to the device’s geo-location so it can give the driver stop-to-stop directions.
Streamlining administrative overhead
eoStar has helped streamline workflow so well that TBW can now operate with only one administrative coordinator at each of its four branches, each of which does up to $40 million in sales per year.
“We don’t need as many people at the branches, even as we scale up our business and The Beverage Works grows,” said Chris Ustick, TBW executive vice president. “eoStar is always looking to serve the customer’s needs, and that includes taking our recommendations into account when issuing the next version of the software. The software is robust, but they’re always trying to improve it.”
New features on the way
Looking ahead, TBW is continuing to work with eoStar to investigate new features to help their business run more efficiently. eoStar’s full range of technology offerings give employees – no matter their role – flexible, easy-to-use ways to store and access up-to-the-minute information. It’s not just about efficiency, it’s about making life easier and more productive for workers. And who doesn’t want that?
“We deliver Red Bull, but from a business standpoint, we could be delivering anything,” he said. “Whatever you’re delivering, eoStar can meet your needs.”